Headline Round-Up (27 March 2015)

Here is an unsystematic and incomplete listing of some recent Adventist headlines relating to social ethics and action (excerpts included). Click on the titles to access the complete articles.

AU to hold Social Justice Summit: Race and Justice in America (Adv Peace Fellowship, 27 Mar 2015)

The Social Justice Series presents a conversation on race and justice in America. 51 years later, and still fighting for civil rights.

San Antonio to Get $10 Million in Free Adventist Healthcare (McChesney, Adv Review, 27 Mar 2015)

Hundreds of healthcare professionals are gearing up to provide more than $10 million in free medical and dental services as part of a Seventh-day Adventist initiative in San Antonio, Texas, next month. The April 8-10 event at the Alamodome stadium will be one of the Adventist Church’s biggest outreach projects of 2015 and seeks to introduce local residents to the church ahead of the General Conference session, a major church business meeting that will be held in the stadium in July.

Adventists in Nigeria Urged to Not Vote in Election on Sabbath (Adv Today, 27 Mar 2015)

Adventists in Nigeria have been urged by denominational leaders to refrain from voting tomorrow (March 28) on the Sabbath.

ADRA’s Docuseries Brings Viewers to Remote Projects (Byrd, Spectrum, 26 Mar 2015)

Question: ADRA’s nine-part docuseries, “A Closer Walk,” concludes this week on the Hope Channel. What was the message of the series?

Answer [Natalia López-Thismón]: We wanted people who watch “A Closer Walk” to be educated and to be inspired. Many people think they know ADRA — but our work around the world is more than responding to disasters (even though that is some of our most visible work). We work around the world to make sure that people can rise out of poverty in a sustainable way. We provide resources and hope. My favorite part of ADRA’s ministry is that we act as the hands and feet of Jesus on Earth — doing practical work that meets people’s most essential needs.

Adventist Denominational Leaders Address Issues of Ethnicity & Structure (Adv Today, 26 Mar)

The leadership of the Adventist denomination in North America has voted a statement addressing recent discussions on the topic of how the organization deals with ethnic minorities. The statement affirms “the historical establishment and current role and function of Regional Conferences [as] structurally essential, mission effective, and relevant in reaching the diverse populations and urban centers within our division.”

Mission Trip Aims to Prepare San Antonio for World Church Gathering (Adv Today, 26 Mar 2015)

For two weeks leading to the Adventist Global Youth Day on March 21, nearly 150 youth and their sponsors participated in service projects in San Antonio. The MOREcompassion Mission Trip was planned by the Texas Conference, which “has been working towards preparing San Antonio for the General Conference this summer,” Armando Miranda told Adventist Today.

More Compassion in San Antonio (Miranda, NAD Ministerial, ND)

The simple concept of helping people seems to get lost in our churches with so much “church” work that we get carried away by it. One of the best things that I have heard from participants and pastors alike is the aspect of service without the intention of getting something in return. People seem interested to know why we are mowing their lawns at no charge, why we are picking up trash and giving them food for free.

Interview with Kevin Kuehmichel, Pastor Committed to Community Service (Boyd, Adv Today, 25 Mar 2015)

AToday: Did church members get involved?

Kuehmichel: It took awhile, but I got a number of church members to engage the youth…. When we had a regular group of 12 or 14 kids coming every night, and I kept telling church members stories about these kids and encouraging people, I did get some people to start coming. They said, “Hey, this isn’t that hard. We just have to care about people.”

Boarding Academy to Save Big With Solar Energy (Zerne & McChesney, Adv Review, 25 Mar 2015)

Highland View Academy, based in Hagerstown, Maryland, will save $30,000 a year in electricity costs when the solar field comes online late this year and take a leading position among Adventist institutions in embracing renewable energy.

Religious Freedom: A Communal Right (Bussey, CCCC, 24 Mar 2015)

On March 19, the Supreme Court of Canada released its long-anticipated Loyola decision and came very close to saying that there is a religious freedom right, protected by the Charter, for religious corporations. It was only one vote short. However, the entire seven-member panel of the Court ruled that religious freedom does have “communal aspects.”

PUC Student Drops Out To Join “Limbless Evangelist” (Logan, Spectrum, 24 Mar 2015)

Nineteen-year-old Pacific Union College student Bradon Schwarz is dropping out of school to join “limbless evangelist” Nick Vujicic in ministry around the world.

Shakespeare Walla Walla Presents “A Gay SDA Play” (Wright, Spectrum, 24 Mar 2015)

Don’t let the April 1 event date fool you—Shakespeare Walla Walla’s presentation of “A Gay SDA Play” is a serious depiction of the lives of two dozen Seventh-day Adventists (some have left the denomination) who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

My Story: My Experience With Race and Racism as an Adventist (Fernandez, TheHaystack.TV, 23 Mar 2015)

To begin with: I’m mixed, both ethnically and racially (that’s my family and I in the picture above at my brothers wedding last year). My father is an Afro-Caribbean from the Dominican Republic, with some Haitian decent. My mother is from the Central American country of El Salvador. Although many people may think all Hispanic countries are the same (no, we don’t all eat tortillas), these two cultures are vastly different.  Here is where my struggle with cultural, ethic, and racial identity begins.

The Other Side of the Cheese: My Response to Dr. Dwight Nelson’s Sermon on Ending “Ethnically Separate Conferences” (Edmond, SCC, 23 Mar 2015)

I thought about something that the former President of our conference, Elder Joseph McCoy, used to say (he may have gotten it from one of our former Pastors, the late Elder Xavier Butler) “no matter how thinly you slice the cheese, there is always two sides.”

ADRA Celebrates World Water Day (Adv Today, 22 Mar 2015)

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, joined the United Nations (UN) and other nongovernmental organizations in celebrating World Water Day on Sunday, March 22. ADRA implements a range of projects that make water available to individuals and communities around the world.

Records Broken as Young Adventists ‘Are the Sermon’ (McChesney, Adv Review, 21 Mar 2015)

Hundreds of thousands of Adventist young people shared Jesus’ love in 132 countries for Global Youth Day on Sabbath, March 21, setting a new record that surpassed organizers’ expectations.

Unity 2015 Campaign Looks Toward General Conference Vote (Wright, Spectrum, 21 Mar 2015)

A statement targeting Seventh-day Adventist Church members entitled “Affirming Adventist Unity” garnered over 1,000 signatures in its first seven days online, averaging about 185 signatures a day. People in 44 states in the United States and in several more countries added their names to the statement.

The statement endorses a YES vote on the question of whether each major geographic division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church can decide to ordain women pastors. The vote on that question will be held at the 2015 General Conference Session in July.

Millions of Adventist Teens, Young Adults Do Social Action Projects This Weekend (Adv Today, 19 Mar 2015)

The denomination’s General Conference (GC) has asked every Adventist local church to observe Global Youth Day with activities “that will inspire daily acts of kindness throughout the entire church. The goal is to integrate daily acts of kindness into our lifestyles, both as individuals and as a church,” states the official materials from the GC youth department

ADRA Responds to Cyclone Pam’s Devastation on Vanuatu (Adv Today, 19 Mar 2015)

Before Tropical Cyclone Pam hit the archipelago of Vanuatu on March 13 and 14, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, was prepositioned to assist in recovery. Despite this preparation, devastation caused by winds averaging 167 miles per hour near the eye of the storm is making it difficult for ADRA and other agencies to respond.

Millions of Young Adventists to Share Food and Hugs on Sabbath (Kingston & Stevens, Adv Review, 19 Mar 2015)

Millions of Adventist young people from Norway and Mexico to the cyclone-devastated South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu will share food, visit hospitals, and offer hugs to passersby as they seek to show Jesus’ love in their communities on Sabbath, March 21.

Ebola Survivor Finds New Life at ADRA (McChesney, Adv Review, 17 Mar 2015)

Henry Tony lost his wife, little son, mother, and grandmother to Ebola last fall. But the 31-year-old Liberian native says he has reason to praise God. He survived the deadly virus and is now playing a role in ADRA’s efforts to combat Ebola in West Africa. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency recently announced plans to employ survivors, who face widespread discrimination, and Tony is one of the first to be hired.

Adventist Church Makes History in Cuba With Major Health Fair (IAD/Adv Review, 17 Mar 2015)

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cuba made history with 2,000 young people donating blood, conducting health screenings, and distributing thousands of books at two of the communist island’s most revered sites.

Adventist Church adopts stance on vaccines (McChessney, ANN/Adv Review, 16 Mar 2015)

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has issued an official statement on vaccines, saying it “encourages responsible immunization” and has no faith-based reason to discourage believers from participating in immunization programs.

Peacemaking through Medical Care (Weir, Adv Peace Fellowship, 16 Mar 2015)

On March 12, 2015, students and professors gathered in Newbold auditorium at Andrews University to hear how doctors in western Galilee are using medicine to build trust and promote peace between Israel and Syria.

Andrews University Holds Forum On Racially Divided Conferences (Boyd, Adv Peace Fellowship, 12 Mar 2015)

On March 7, 2015, the Andrews University APF Chapter, along with a number of other student organizations, sponsored an event which looked at the state and regional conference structure within the North American Division (NAD) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Brazilian Adventists Give Roses to Prostitutes (Ayanne, Adv Review, 11 Mar 2015)

As many countries around the world celebrated International Women’s Day last weekend, Seventh-day Adventists in a Brazilian city presented prostitutes with red roses. A group from the Carapina Grande Adventist Church hit the sidewalk in the southeast coastal city of Serra at 9 p.m. Saturday, the eve of the March 8 holiday, and spent four hours passing out flowers and DVDs to the surprised and delighted young women.

ADRA Gets $2 Million to Turn Young Romanians Into Business Owners (McChesney, 8 Mar 2015)

ADRA has received a European Union grant of 2 million euros ($2.16 million) to help young Romanian adults open their own businesses, part of an effort by the Adventist-run organization to give people the tools they need to improve their lives.

Church Fears Same-Sex Marriage Ruling May Stifle Religious Freedom (McChesney, Adv Review, 6 Mar 2015)

The Seventh-day Adventist Church filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Count on Friday asking that it provide legal protections to religious denominations in a potentially landmark same-sex marriage case.

Seventh-day Adventists and the WWI tribunals (Hulbert, Everyday Lives in War, 26 Feb 2015)

John Benefield was both a baker and a Conscientious Objector. Working in an essential industry he was exempt from the armed service as his skills were needed at home. Nevertheless, every few months he had to attend a tribunal in order to re-establish his status. This took place in a court house 13 miles from his home in Bournemouth. As losses mounted the Tribunal became more strict, constantly looking for any loop hole they could to dispatch even essential workers to the front.

Abercrombie & Fitch, The Supreme Court and You (Leslie, Huffington Post, 25 Feb 2015)

The issue in question concerns a young woman who believes differently than I do. And yet, I care deeply about this case that is being heard by the Supreme Court involving a young Muslim woman who was denied employment by Abercrombie & Fitch due to the headscarf she wore for religious reasons… because this conflicted with Abercrombie & Fitch’s “look policy.”

Adventists in Central Jamaica fight crime by putting youth to work (Coke, IAD, 24 Feb 2015)

More than 2,000 Seventh-day Adventist young people took to Jamaican streets last weekend to spruce up neighborhoods and encourage healthy lifestyles as part of a church initiative to keep youth away from crime.

Adventist Church’s Ebola response highlights coordinated effort (Oliver, ANN, 20 Feb 2015)

The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s coordinated response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa includes eradication projects in the affected countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as support for several hospitals and more than two-dozen schools, most of which still remain closed.

In Sierra Leone, ADRA decontaminating homes to stop Ebola’s spread (ANN/ADRA, 3 Feb 2013)

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency in Sierra Leone is helping to operate a home decontamination program to prevent the spread of Ebola, an initiative that agency officials say is the only one of its kind in the country.

A History Lesson (Hines, Spectrum, 2 Feb 2015)

In 1905 the Spanish philosopher George Santayana published Reason in Common Sense, in which he penned the often quoted (and misquoted) phrase, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It seems we have the same problem in the Adventist Church. One of the great travesties of Adventism is that the church in America is still structurally segregated.

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